BALTIMORE – When New England vice president of player personnel Michael Burns reviewed the Revolution's crop of five draft picks at the end of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, he quickly arrived at one positive conclusion.
This hectic afternoon at the Baltimore Convention Center marked another important step in the process of building a roster for the 2011 season.
“I think it's normal that when everyone leaves the draft, they feel comfortable with who they have drafted,” Burns told MLSsoccer.com after the action concluded. “But, really, the true test will tell when we get everyone into the locker room and acclimated when we start training. On paper, we feel pretty decent about what transpired today for us.”
New England kicked off their participation in the SuperDraft by selecting All-American defender A.J. Soares with the sixth overall pick. The former California center back shot to the top of the Revs' draft board because he successfully employs the type of cerebral approach New England coach Steve Nicol prefers from his defenders.
“My approach to defense is all about organization and using your head to be intellectual out there,” Soares said. “If you're reading the game properly, you can make stops before things even start. That's the biggest part of the game.”
After plucking Soares to buttress their central defensive options in round one, the Revs selected former North Carolina midfielder Stephen McCarthy in the second round (24th overall).
“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m so excited and happy,” McCarthy said. “Can’t wait to get out there.”
McCarthy's considerable frame (6-foot-4, 185 pounds) and deft passing touch should give the Revs an additional look in central midfield, according to Burns.
WATCH: McCarthy highlights
“He's definitely an imposing physical player,” Burns said. “Hopefully, he'll add an additional presence in our midfield. Our coaches had seen him a lot with Boston College (in the area) and we get a chance to see a lot of the ACC schools (play in Chestnut Hill, Mass.). We had another opportunity to see him at the Combine. Knowing that he was a signed player with the league, it was all positives for us.”
While both Soares and McCarthy will slot straight onto the senior roster after signing contracts with MLS prior to the SuperDraft, the Revs' three third-round selections will have to prove their worth in training camp.
New England's three other picks – Notre Dame forward Steven Perry (39th overall), Monmouth midfielder Ryan Kinne (42nd overall) and William & Mary forward Alan Koger (54th overall) – should provide Nicol with additional attacking options.
Although Burns said he was pleased with the players his club acquired with its five picks, he said the Revs will have to wait until training camp to see what sort of impact their new players at the MLS level.
“We feel pretty good about the guys we were able to get,” Burns said. “We'll see in a couple of weeks.”